All aboard the Flying Scotsman

Date: Friday 24th March 2017

THE iconic Settle-Carlisle rail line is set to reopen fully next week for the first time since a 500,000-tonne landslip hit the track near Armathwaite during the devastating floods of December, 2015.

For several months, a replacement bus service has operated between Carlisle and Appleby.

However, on Friday, passengers will be able to board a 5-50am service at Carlisle which is due to arrive at Appleby at 6-32am, following the completion of a £23 million engineering project which was needed to stabilise a section of the gorge bank above the River Eden which gave way in February last year.

The first train carrying passengers to Carlisle from Appleby will depart at 7-32am and arrive at the city at 8-17am.

Along with commuters relieved to be back on board will be Martin Frobisher, Network Rail’s route managing director, representatives from train operator Northern, Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line and Cumbria County Council staff.

To mark the occasion, the historic Flying Scotsman, which is said to be “the nation’s favourite locomotive”, is due to travel up the line to Carlisle.

The crowd-pleasing loco will leave Oxenhope at 8-30am and travel via Haworth, Keighley and Skipton and then on to Carlisle on the newly repaired line.

The journey from Oxenhope to Carlisle will take approximately three hours. The Settle-Carlisle line opened in 1876. It takes in 20 viaducts, 14 tunnels and wonderfully restored Midland stations along 72 miles of track.

A drop-in session is set to take place on Thursday at Armathwaite village hall from 4pm to 7pm to thank local people for their patience ahead of the full reopening.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “Com-munity engagement has been at the heart of the last 12 months and the last drop-in event saw up to 400 people visit.”

Network Rail is confident the viaduct-like structure which has been built will safeguard the section of railway for generations to come.

Ahead of the full reopening, Paul Barnfield, regional director at Northern, said the company was delighted that it would once again be able to provide a full rail service to its customers travelling between Yorkshire and Cumbria